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GOP PAC gave to church that sued over COVID-19 restrictions

July 16, 2020 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A suburban St. Louis church received a $5,000 contribution from a Republican-affiliated political action committee before it sued over coronavirus-related restrictions on gatherings, new records show.

Records filed Wednesday with the Missouri Ethics Commission show that the Show Me Growth PAC contributed to the Church of the Word on May 19. One day later, the Fenton church filed a federal lawsuit against County Executive Sam Page, a Democrat. The case has since been dismissed, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

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Mike Leara, treasurer of the PAC, said no direction was given to the church on how to spend the money but added that “I think it helped them afford a lawyer with their case.”

Matthew Sheffer, the pastor of the church, declined to discuss how the church spent the money.

The PAC supports Rep. David Gregory, R-Fenton, who was one of the attorneys who represented the church in the case. Leara said Gregory didn’t get paid for his work with the church.

Leara represented the 96th House District, covering parts of south St. Louis County, before Gregory succeeded him in 2017. The two men are related by marriage.

Gregory and his co-counsel, Henry Elster, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.